Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

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NSSD70ACe
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Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by NSSD70ACe »

Amtrak released their FY20-25 line plans. One big change (for us Michiganders) is that Amtrak is seriously evaluating connecting the sidings between Niles and Kalamazoo, effectively restoring most of the double track. Amtrak believes this will alleviate capacity concerns while also eliminating delays for meeting trains on the west end.

Found on page 94.

https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/proj ... Y21-25.pdf
Amtrak's here to stay. Deal with it.

DaveO
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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by DaveO »

8 trains a day plus whatever locals NS runs and Amtrak needs to make that 2 main track territory?
What they really need to do is improve the dispatch reliability so that the trains are at the proper sidings at the proper times.

NSSD70ACe
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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by NSSD70ACe »

DaveO wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:24 pm
8 trains a day plus whatever locals NS runs and Amtrak needs to make that 2 main track territory?
What they really need to do is improve the dispatch reliability so that the trains are at the proper sidings at the proper times.
Amtrak is foreseeing growth on the AML corridor. As a result, they want to double-track the line.
Amtrak's here to stay. Deal with it.

CR900945
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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by CR900945 »

Someone needs to visit Switzerland to watch how they handle a much greater volume of trains over a single track. If the trains are close to their schedules, there should be little congestion on this part of the line. If double track is needed anywhere, it is at Ann Arbor where trains are often held out at Ypsilanti or Chelsea because of close meets with #352 and #355.

NSSD70ACe
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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by NSSD70ACe »

CR900945 wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 12:14 pm
Someone needs to visit Switzerland to watch how they handle a much greater volume of trains over a single track. If the trains are close to their schedules, there should be little congestion on this part of the line. If double track is needed anywhere, it is at Ann Arbor where trains are often held out at Ypsilanti or Chelsea because of close meets with #352 and #355.

Amtrak didn’t have the power to do so until recently when the State of Michigan purchased the line. Maybe it’s in the works and it hasn’t been moved past the planning phase, who knows.

As a follow-up to DaveO: Amtrak’s dispatching isn’t usually the issue. NS screwing over the trains almost immediately after they hit the Chicago Line is what is causing the problems. If Amtrak was given the priority they were supposed to have or they had their own right of way into Chicago, chances are the OTP would be just fine.

By the way, they did research doing their own ROW to Chicago. It’s in the plan from 2019. I’m not sure where it stands at this point but Amtrak is still exploring all options to fix the timing issues that NS doesn’t seem all that motivated to fix.
Amtrak's here to stay. Deal with it.

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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

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Conversely if Amtrak was to incentivize NS they could accomplish the same thing.

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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by DaveO »

Dispatch reliability is meant to include all facets of moving their trains on-time.
Not leaving Pontiac on-time usually isn't due to an issue with CN, it's an issue with Amtrak.

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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by justalurker66 »

NSSD70ACe wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:08 pm
By the way, they did research doing their own ROW to Chicago. It’s in the plan from 2019. I’m not sure where it stands at this point but Amtrak is still exploring all options to fix the timing issues that NS doesn’t seem all that motivated to fix.
Plan or wish list? When someone says plan I expect an actual plan with at least the beginnings of the required studies and a determination that the solution offerred has merit. The further along in the planning progress (such a Environmental Impact Statements, Record of Decisions and funding requests) the more the wish becomes a plan.

The Chicago timing issue is well documented (by railfans). On time scheduled trains leaving CUS get blocked by the same freight trains most nights. It is as if NS doesn't care that there is a scheduled train passing through - they want their freight out of the yard so they give it clearance and hold the Amtrak. Perhaps they are getting an incentive from the shippers to get that freight out of the yard on time.

Long term there will be fixes available (given money to construct and completion of the planning process). Short term it would be good if NS would carve out a window for each of the trains using their line. If Amtrak hits the window (especially eastbound out of CUS) they get their slot. If they fail to get their train past 21st St in the window then the delay is on Amtrak.

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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by NSSD70ACe »

justalurker66 wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:34 pm
NSSD70ACe wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:08 pm
By the way, they did research doing their own ROW to Chicago. It’s in the plan from 2019. I’m not sure where it stands at this point but Amtrak is still exploring all options to fix the timing issues that NS doesn’t seem all that motivated to fix.
Plan or wish list? When someone says plan I expect an actual plan with at least the beginnings of the required studies and a determination that the solution offerred has merit. The further along in the planning progress (such a Environmental Impact Statements, Record of Decisions and funding requests) the more the wish becomes a plan.

The Chicago timing issue is well documented (by railfans). On time scheduled trains leaving CUS get blocked by the same freight trains most nights. It is as if NS doesn't care that there is a scheduled train passing through - they want their freight out of the yard so they give it clearance and hold the Amtrak. Perhaps they are getting an incentive from the shippers to get that freight out of the yard on time.

Long term there will be fixes available (given money to construct and completion of the planning process). Short term it would be good if NS would carve out a window for each of the trains using their line. If Amtrak hits the window (especially eastbound out of CUS) they get their slot. If they fail to get their train past 21st St in the window then the delay is on Amtrak.
https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/proj ... equest.pdf

Amtrak’s FY2020 Grant Request and Legislative Report. Page 40/41.
Amtrak's here to stay. Deal with it.

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Saturnalia
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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by Saturnalia »

justalurker66 wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 3:34 pm
Perhaps they are getting an incentive from the shippers to get that freight out of the yard on time.
This. NS makes money moving freight, not passengers. If Amtrak paid for the top priority they desire, they'd get it. All of the Z-train shippers do so.

Sure, there's arguments that carrying passengers is part of the railroad's common carrier obligations. But that statue never said it had to be at top speed.

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Re: Amtrak Asset Line Plan FY20-25

Unread post by PatAzo »

Think back a few years. FedEx team drivers with doubles made the trip between east and west coasts in four days. TOFC took five days. FedEx needed a four day service and asked for an expedited service once a week. BNSF looked at not just the cost of the train but the delay to everything else so the faster train could overtake them. BNSF presented the costs to FedEx. FedEx declined the up charge and said we'll take our business to UP. BNSF said sorry, but this is what it costs. UP took the business without the up charge and nearly locked up their network trying to push it through. Priority isn't free even for big shippers.

On the subject of Michigan Line delays the Detroit Free Press quoted John Gray, senior VP for policy at the AAR. “It would be nice to see the public coming forward” — that is, with federal and state dollars — “where they have an interest in keeping passengers trains operating,”

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